5. GIVE DONORS OPTIONS AND IDEAS.
For instance, offer to renegotiate longer
pledge payout periods. And don’t forget
to remind individual donors to check with
their employer about a matching gift program.
6. BE PREPARED FOR CHANGES IN
7. BE FLEXIBLE.
There likely will continue to be a decline
in giving until the economy recovers. It
is predicted that the 2009 recession will
deepen before it gets better, but that
should not stop an association from ask-
ing current donors for contributions.
Organizations should consider different
ways to think about doing their work —
becoming as efficient and effective as
possible — in order to adapt to the economic situation. They also must seek
out new and innovative ways to go about
finding and obtaining available funds.
Consider a focused development time-line, looking at three-month, six-month
and one-year periods. Also explore other
strategic restructuring plans such as
back-office consolidation, joint ventures
and mergers, which can increase efficiency while cutting costs.
10 RESOURCES FOR THE RECESSION
Baker and Celeste Wroblewski, Donor Forum’s vice president of external relations, suggest the following Web-based resources on nonprofit fundraising, communications and operations. With the exception of Donors Forum’s site, the
information and opinions expressed on these sites do not necessarily reflect the
views of Donors Forum. A shortened URL is provided for most.
8. ENCOURAGE THE BOARD OF
DIRECTORS TO HELP.
By fulfilling their legal and fiduciary
responsibilities, organizations’ boards can
best promote their groups. It is equally
important that boards fully understand
what the association is going through and
engage in fundraising efforts to help.
Don’t forget that individuals of influence or affluence — or both — also serve
on association boards, and have the potential to be key players in identifying and
obtaining contributions from new donors.
Board members should be able to articulate the mission and good works of the
organization to potential donors.
1. Donors Forum
2. Association of Fundraising
3. National Conference of
Commissioners on Uniform State
Laws’ Site on UPMIFA
4. National Council of Nonprofits’
Nonprofit Economic Vitality
5. Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Guide
to Navigating the Recession
1. Donor Power Blog
2. The Fundraising Coach
3. Getting Attention
4. Katya’s Nonprofit
5. Kivi’s Nonprofit
9. KEEP TABS ON NEW LEGISLATION.
The recent passage in Illinois of the
Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act means that foundations
and associations now have access to
endowment funds that fall below their
initial dollar value. While this can add to
an organization’s coffers, it also necessitates clear communication with present
and potential donors.
10. STAY LOYAL TO YOUR MISSION.
Although it may be necessary to reevaluate fundraising practices, associations
must remain true to their core mission.
All funding requests are grounded in the
funder’s area of interest and the grant-seeker’s alignment with the funder’s
mission. Organizations should evaluate
whether it is feasible to continue activities that may not be central to their mission. By focusing on those ideals that
most overlap with current and potential
funders, associations can best maintain
their grant partnerships and open themselves to new alliances. Organizations
that continue to show value and maintain
results will stand out to funders. Both
grantmaking and grantseeking should be
grounded in mission.
Although the economic crisis presents
difficulties, associations should remain
positive. Many donors have become more
frugal with their available funds, but that
should not discourage associations from
continuing and strengthening their fundraising efforts.
“These trying economic times will test
all nonprofits and help them reevaluate
and reorganize their programs,” Baker says.
“Those associations that weather this storm
will come out stronger, with their principles and practices clearer and more focused.
This period of economic unrest offers a
learning experience from which both nonprofits and funders can benefit.”
Becky Panter and Kristen Dennison were interns for
Donors Forum in summer 2009. Panter is a history
and public relations major at Boston University and
Dennison is a public relations major and marketing
minor at the University of Dayton. Both will graduate